What do you feel about washing cloth diapers with other clothes? Can you wash cloth diapers with baby clothes? Here is everything you need to know!
I hate complicating cloth diaper wash routines, and I always consider cloth diapers are a part of the household laundry. You can see me rolling my eyes on some of the cloth diaper advice on the web.
I believe that this has a lot to do with my upbringing. You probably already know that I was born and raised in India. When I was a baby, my parents didn’t have the luxury to spend hundreds of dollars on disposable diapers.
Cloth diapers were the norm back home, and they were treated as how you would treat your regular dirty clothes. So, washing cloth diapers with other baby clothes were a no big deal.
But, I understand why some of you might be grossed out by the very thought of this.
Cloth diapers are the dirtiest kind of laundry you can come across. I mean, we are talking poop and pee. Newborn poop is one of the messiest and toughest stain to get rid off.
Don’t cloth diapers need some special treatment than regular laundry?
Well, this post will answer all the questions you might have about washing cloth diapers with other clothes.
Why Are Cloth Diapers Different Than Other Clothes?
We are dealing with organic waste:
Both urine and feces contain organic substances like fatty acids, hormones, and enzymes. Cloth diapers are designed to hold human waste, which is different than the ‘every day’ dirt present in our other clothes. This requires more attention to detail when it comes to washing cloth diapers.
We Need A Cloth Diaper Wash Routine:
As I mentioned above, cloth diapers are the toughest to clean because we are dealing with organic human waste. For this reason, they need a regiment wash routine in place to get them clean. Cloth diapers need proper agitation, require adequate water, the right detergent, and the correct washer setting to get the dirt out.
While it is same for any other laundry, I guess there are more risks when it comes to using un-clean diapers on your baby’s sensitive parts. It is not uncommon for baby’s getting diaper rashes or ammonia burns due to improperly cleaned diapers.
Why Would You Wash Cloth Diapers With Other Clothes?
Knowing that cloth diapers are so gross, why would you even add other laundry items to them? Right? There are times when adding extra clothes can benefit you. Many parents add regular laundry for the reasons discussed below:
When you are prepping cloth diapers:
Prepping cloth diapers is commonly known as washing your new diapers on the first time before you put them on your baby. If you have purchased a cloth diaper made of natural fibers, then you might have to wash them multiple times before they become fully absorbent.
In such cases, it is safe to wash your diapers with other laundry items, just to speedup up the prepping process.
When you need better agitation:
When you have a small diaper stash, or if you wash every day, you might not have enough diapers to get this desired friction. That’s when adding extra laundry can benefit you.
When you add small extra laundry like baby clothes or cloth wipes, you are making sure that your diapers are getting cleansed thoroughly.
When you want to save time and money:
Some parents prefer washing all baby stuff together instead of running separate loads for baby clothes and diapers. You can also end up saving some money on your utilities when you run a single large load instead of multiple small loads.
When you should NOT Mix Cloth diapers with other clothes?
I gave some reasons when it makes sense to wash cloth diapers with other household laundry items, but I want to warn you about specific situations where I would not recommend combining laundry.
When you use different detergent for regular clothes and cloth diapers:
Cloth diapers can be washed with regular laundry, that’s no problem. But you don’t want to use your regular detergent if you have been using a specific detergent for cloth diapers. Some regular detergents may contain substances that are not cloth diaper friendly, and this might throw your wash routine off. Also, adding excessive detergent can create mineral build up which then needs to be fixed by stripping your cloth diapers.
When your baby has an yeast infection:
Treating cloth diapers infested with yeast is a big beast. You would want to sanitize your diapers because your baby might get recurrent infections if all the yeast spores are not killed.
Adding regular laundry, when your baby has yeast infection means you need to sanitize everything that came in touch with your diapers. Which is just too much work.
Well, whether you want to wash other clothes with cloth diapers, it a personal preference.
I know many parents who have added other clothes to diaper laundry with no issues. As long as you are confident with your wash routine, there is no harm in washing other clothes with diapers.
How to wash cloth diapers with other clothes?
Here is how I wash my cloth diapers with other clothes.
I start with a cold pre-wash cycle with only my cloth diapers. I have a top loader and a non-HE machine, and I can choose a small or medium cycle depending on my soiled diaper load.
Once the rinse is done, I add regular laundry, change the water level to medium or large (depending on how much other clothes I add) and push start.
Once the main wash is done and has gone through a cycle of rinse, I sort the diapers and regular laundry. Cloth diapers are hung to dry while other clothes go into the dryer.
That’s it. It is as simple as that.
What can you add to your cloth diaper laundry?
Here are a few things that you can safely add to your dirty diaper load.
We use cloth wipes for cleaning my baby’s bum. After changing a pee diaper, I wipe my baby’s bum with a wipe and throw it in a diaper pail along with the diaper. When there is poop, I do an additional step of dumping the poop in the toiler and rinsing the wipe. I then squeeze the water out of the wipe and throw it in the pail.
We don’t use disposable face wipes. We use cloth wipes to clean crusty noses and faces. Sometimes they get tossed with the diaper laundry.
Baby bibs come out cleaner when washed with cloth diapers.
Baby clothes are something that I add to my cloth diaper laundry regularly. When I started with a small cloth diaper stash, and I was washing every two days. To get good agitation, I always washed baby clothes with diapers.
Washing menstrual cloth pads is very similar to washing cloth diapers. They get a pre-rinse, they need proper agitation to get cleaned, so washing them with cloth diapers make perfect sense. Some may feel squeamish with this idea, but I know many moms who do this and get both the diapers and pads pristine clean.
It all comes down to having a solid wash routine. If you have one, you don’t have to worry about getting your diapers clean, whether you add regular laundry to your cloth diapers or not.
What Not to put in your cloth diaper laundry:
I am very picky about what gets washed with my cloth diapers. Generally, I stick with only adding cloth wipes, baby clothes, and small towels to my diaper laundry.
Cloth diapers are not cheap, and I make sure I don’t wash anything that can damage them. I also don’t add my clothes or my husband’s clothes with the diapers, because I fear zippers or snaps damaging the PUL. A damaged PUL is often irreversible and is not worth the risk, in my opinion.
Here are some of the other things that I would be weary washing with my cloth diapers.
Anything too big: Anything that is bigger than a flat diaper, like big towels and sheets can be a problem when you wash them with diapers. The problem is that they take too much space and prevent cloth diapers from rubbing against each other, which is the key to get them clean.
Anything too delicate: Some cloth diapers come in a Velcro closure. Even though you secure them using their laundry tab, they might come off during wash and snag your delicate clothes.
Anything with bright colors: Bright colored clothes especially red or pink, tend clothes to bleed when washed. The dye gets dissolved in water, and your cloth diapers are smeared with pinkish hues. Your cloth diapers are still 100% functional but they might just look dyed.
Anything that needs a lot of detergent: Think of greasy or heavy soiled clothes. You would probably need extra detergent to get the tough stains out of them. Whenever you add extra clothes to your cloth diapers, you should always keep in mind to follow your wash routine. Anything that requires too much detergent (more than your normal routine calls for) is not suitable for your diapers, because too much detergent can build up on your diapers over time.
Washing other clothes with diapers is not a necessity. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. At the same time, adding regular laundry like baby clothes is not forbidden.
Keep in mind to follow your regular cloth diaper wash routine. Make sure your cloth diapers are agitated properly, add adequate detergent and you should be good.
How do you feel about adding other clothes to your cloth diaper load? Is that something you will do?